3326. Robert Southey to [John Murray], 26 June 1819

3326. Robert Southey to [John Murray], 26 June 1819⁠* 

My dear Sir

Lord B’s is a very able book, – every way honourable to him. – I will make my notes from it without delay, lest you should reclaim it, & any change of mind in the author prevent its publication. [1]  – Let me have in your next parcel Sir Howard Douglas’s book about military Bridges. [2] 

You will be glad to hear that I have finished the Hist. of Brazil, & sent off the last part of the MS. [3]  On this work I might be contented to rest my reputation. I shall produce (God willing) others that will be as well composed, & more generally interesting; but none of equal value; for there is nothing which <could> supply its place. The materials from which it is drawn are not accessible, for the greater part. There existed no history of that great region before I undertook the subject; & now there is no part of the world of which so & I have embodied in it more facts relating to the aboriginal inhabitants, more details of the early history <transactions> & progressive improvement of the Brazilians, – than are to be found in the history of any other country. I know how remote the subject is, & how little interest it will promise to the great mass of the public. And I expect from it neither popularity nor profit in my own time. But it must make its way slowly & surely, & become a standard book (setting all other merits aside, whatever they may be) for the body of facts which are to be found there, & there only.

And now the Q.R. is the only thing which will impede the progress of the Peninsular War, – for what I have to yet to do with the Life of Wesley is scarcely to be taken into the account. [4]  – My Scotch trip is an engagement which has been put off for various reasons, during three successive years. I go the first week in August & do not expect to be absent more than from four to five weeks. [5]  Before I go you shall have the paper upon the Monastic Orders, – upon which I am now employed. [6] 

Believe me my dear Sir

Yrs very truly

R Southey.

Keswick. 26 June. 1819

When I have the first portion of the War ready, may I send it thro the Admiralty? [7] 


* MS: National Library of Scotland, MS 42552. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] John Fane, 11th Earl of Westmorland (1784–1859; DNB), Memoir of the Early Campaigns of the Duke of Wellington: in Portugal and Spain. By an Officer Employed in His Army (1820). Fane was known by the courtesy title Lord Burghersh until 1841. His book was published by Murray. BACK

[2] General Sir Howard Douglas’s publications included an Essay on the Principles and Construction of Military Bridges and the Passage of Rivers in Military Operations (1816). BACK

[3] The final volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1810–1819). BACK

[4] Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832) and The Life of Wesley; and the Rise and Progress of Methodism (1820). BACK

[5] Southey’s tour of Scotland lasted from 17 August until 1 October 1819. For his record of events, see Journal of a Tour in Scotland in 1819, ed. Charles Harold Herford (1929). BACK

[6] Southey’s review of Thomas Fosbrooke (1770–1842; DNB), British Monachism; or, Manners and Customs of the Monks and Nuns of England (1817), Quarterly Review, 22 (July 1819), 59–102. BACK

[7] In order for the package to receive a government frank and so avoid postage charges. John Wilson Croker and Sir John Barrow (1764–1848; DNB) were closely connected to Murray’s Quarterly Review and worked at the Admiralty. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)